Monday, 8 November 2010

The shop window

I've been busy. I remember Jonathon Sachs explaining on the Today programme how he was taught to expect leisure time to expand as machines took the strain. Capitalism put a stop to that. I often wonder who these dreamers were who worried about excess leisure time, was our future ever so uncertain?

It came to me earlier that the Liberals may just be making a rudimentary error which, when pointed out, will have them back on the right track as soon as the first flush of embarrassment has faded.

Nick Clegg seems convinced that the Coalition is his chance to prove that the Liberal's can handle power when it is thrust upon them. It must seem so from the office of the Deputy Leader. Nick Clegg must think that if the economy improves, the powerless behind the throne will steal some of the glory. His gamble remains that the Coalition will convince voters that the Liberals are a party of Government.

My take on it is that the voters will recognise that the Liberals are able to adapt to retain influence. They might see it as a selfless sacrifice and a few votes may follow but basically, by merging with the ideals of the Tory party, the Liberals have been seen to believe in nothing more than power. And bang, there goes the USP. I see this as a schoolboy error for a party to make but, of course, the party didn't make it, the party leaders did, politicians with jobs and influence and a whole set of new friends explaining the way the world really works.

So, although it came to me earlier that the Ogrons will hold their hand up at some point, it now comes to me, a couple of paragraphs later, that they won't because the rudimentary error I made was in expecting individuals to care much about the aims and beliefs of the political party they belong to when the need to have aims and beliefs has passed. This turns the Liberals into Curiosity Killed The Cat rather than The Clash, corrupted by the seeming success of a mistaken public reaction. Fortunately, I was never in the Cat fan club.

So the older the coalition gets the harder its going to be for me to walk across to shake Clegg's hand and vice versa. We are falling out of love, each knew shock leaving us (well, only me really but that doesn't work for the analogy) betrayed by the depth of misunderstanding. In the Liberal shop window is the ability to rule without, it seems, the inconvenience of obligation. In my shabby corner shop window, the faith in my political and economic beliefs steadfast against the corruption of power.

The only thing perhaps we can both agree on is that the way things are, we may never have enough leisure time for Jonathan Sachs and his generation to worry about. I just happen to think that's a sad thing to contemplate.

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